Design as if People Mattered
|Prof ||Hours ||Office ||Phone ||Email
and by appt.
|Steinmetz Hall |
and by appt.
|Steinmetz Hall |
Course Webpage: http://cs.union.edu/srs200
This Sophomore Research Seminar focuses on the usability of objects -- the
things that make an object easy or difficult to use, even when interacting with
it for the first time. In this course, you will learn how to recognize usability
(or lack thereof) in a system, design new versions of systems to increase their
usability, and conduct empirical studies to evaluate the systems you develop.
Specifically, this course will cover:
- Usability: goals, guidelines, and concepts
- Empirical methods: designing and running a study, and analyzing results
- Research writing
- The Design process
Things you will need
Texts (3 required)
- Wayne C. Booth, Gregory G. Colomb, and Joseph M. Williams,
The Craft of Research. 2nd edition, The University of Chicago Press, 2003.
- Jakob Nielsen, Usability Engineering, AP Professional, 1993.
- Donald A. Norman, The Design of Everyday Things, Basic Books, 2002.
You will need a notebook of some kind that will act as a journal. You will be
required to use your journal throughout the course to record design
ideas, notes on methods used, and analysis of results. Any kind of paper
will do, but it might be helpful if it included some graph paper in case
you wanted to record preliminary design sketches.
There will be four projects assigned during the term, and the majority
of your grade will be based on them. Projects are team-based, and although
grades will be given to each team as a whole, your individual grade can go up or down
depending on your contribution.
Each project will include a variety of activities related to effective research, design,
and communication. These include, but are not limited to,
literature reviews, experiment
design, journaling, proposal writing, and making presentations to the class.
As this is a research seminar, much of your time will be spent
in practicing what it means to do research -- both in the library and
out in the world. Even though you will conduct research in the
context of usability, these skills will be applicable no matter what
discipline you eventually major in.
No lates will be accepted for any of the projects.
There will be no midterm for the course. The day of the final exam will
be used for making presentations on your final project.
- Project 1 -- Observing usability: 10%
- Project 2 -- Discount usability: 15%
- Project 3 -- Iterative testing with specialty tools: 20%
- Project 4 -- Freeform design project: 30%
- Library Research assignment: 5%
- Journal: 10%
- Class participation: 10%
What you need to do
To prepare for class, you are required to do the following:
Show upYou are expected to be present for every class. However, we
realize that sometimes other things come up (interview, illness, etc.) so just
please let us know in advance or by phone/email if you're going to be absent.
If you miss
class, get notes from someone and do the readings before coming to see us. We're
happy to explain things, but we won't repeat lectures for you.
Read the texts
You should do the reading for that week before coming to
class so that questions you have about the material can be answered during
class time. There will always be a time for questions about the readings or
previous class sessions at the beginning of each class. Take advantage of it.
Check the webpageThe reading assignments (and other announcements)
will be posted regularly on the course webpage. You are required to check it
at least once a week. The address is at the top of this document.
The Bottom Line
Ask questions and seek help. This is the most
important point of all. We live to answer questions. Don't be afraid to come to
our offices every single day if you want. It's better for everybody (you AND us)
if you understand things sooner rather than later. And you'll
get the help you need faster by starting on projects sooner rather than waiting
until the last minute.
Any student with a documented learning disorder is welcome to come talk to us
privately about options for completion of course assignments.
SRS 200 homepage